Health care costs can be burdening to most people. US citizens who experience financial burdens may not visit a physician when sick or may fail to undergo a medical test because of the prohibitory medical expenses. Hence the need to pool resources together in health insurance cover to help ease medical costs in an emergency. In the US, healthcare is a hybrid system; there is no particular universal health care system. Most health care in the US is delivered privately, even with public funding.
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Rising Health Care Costs in The US
The rising health care costs in the US is attributable to several varied reasons.
· Use of Modern Technology
While the integration of modern technology in medicine has improved the quality of medical services, the technology has increased the cost of accessing health care services. Modern medical equipment is expensive, and an excellent medical facility will acquire much such equipment, thus raising healthcare costs in the US. The patients will then have to incur high medical fees for maintenance and other expenses associated with the machines.
· Prescription Drugs
According to some medical data, the US spent about $530 billion on prescription drugs alone. Prescription drugs are more expensive than over-the-counter drugs in most cases, thus pushing the cost of healthcare higher.
· Increase in Chronic Diseases
In the US, chronic diseases account for a large proportion of the health care costs, especially amongst senior citizens. Older people with chronic conditions make regular visits to hospitals and account for about a third of the overall health care spending.
· Administrative Costs
Though it may not be easy to differentiate public and private administrative costs clearly, the expenditures related to insurance administration such as rent, wages, insurance, and office supplies are high. Some industry players estimate that insurance firms waste a large proportion of their administrative costs.
Health Insurance Coverage in the US
In the US, you can classify health care coverage as either; public insured, privately insured or non-insured.Settling to a specific healthcare insurance scheme can be a difficult task. However, it is crucial to have health care insurance coverage for you and your family. If you need more information, you can search for the US healthcare system explained.
According to the US Census Bureau on Health Insurance coverage estimates of 2019, 90.8% of US citizens had insurance coverage. The distribution of the health care coverage was as shown in the table below.
|Estimates Enrollment (In Millions)
|Estimates Percentage of Population(%)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Table HIC-4_ACS. Health Insurance Coverage
Note: Some people under private health insurance also received services under Medicare or Medicaid public health care insurance. Hence, the percentages add above 100%.
1. Private Health Care Insurance
A private health insurance cover refers to health insurance provided by a private firm rather than insurance coverage by a state or federal government.
You can enrol on private health care insurance through;
- Licensed insurance agents
- Employer’s group health plan
- Health insurance marketplace
Private health insurance schemes may offer plans that meet the minimum essential health benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
2. Public Health Insurance
The two main types of public healthcare insurance cover in the US are; Medicare and Medicaid.Under this program, the government pays some of the costs or all of your medical expenses.
Medicare is a famous public healthcare insurance cover managed by the federal government for persons aged 65+ years and with specificdisabilities.
Medicaid is a public healthcare insurance program that offers health insurance coverage to low-income families and persons with disabilities.
Tricare is a healthcare insurance programcovering armed offices, the Commissioned Corps, and other members of uniformed forces. The Defense Health Agency manages the Tricare health program. The programs also cover the retirees and their family members. TRICARE provides a comprehensive health care plan and covers dental Implants, drug prescriptions, health plans, and special programs.
TRICARE plans meet minimum essential requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
4. VA Care
The US Department of Veterans Affairs manages VA healthcare. VA Care covers your regular health check-ups with your primary health care provider. VA healthcare also covers your appointments with specialists such as gynecologists, psychiatrists, and cardiologists. Veterans can access health care services from their homes and care for the elderly courtesy of the VA healthcare program. You will also get prosthetics, prescription drugs, and medical equipment under the VA healthcare.
Quality and affordable health care are essential for a healthy and robust nation. The health of people greatly influences their daily output. Quality and affordable healthcare also help stop infectious diseases on time before spreading to unmanageable levels. It’s the role of all health and medical industry players to collaborate and ensure that health services are high quality and affordable. Affordability of medical health services leads to better access to quality healthcare.